Vanity Metrics #18

Just the facts, ma'am.

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This week, I’m attending the #smwone Virtual Conference. It’s been a pretty remarkable learning opportunity so far, but it’s also taking about 9 hours a day. So I’ll be doing a “just the facts” edition of Vanity this week, as there’s still news trickling out that worth hitting your inbox with. A lot of it Facebook-related. Let’s get to it.

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Photo by 𝓴𝓘𝓡𝓚 𝕝𝔸𝕀 on Unsplash
  • Perhaps the biggest deal this week, Instagram is launching direct monetization options for creators on its platform. One of those options is “badges” viewers can buy during live streams at $1, $2, and $5 options. For now, you’ll keep 100% of the transaction.

  • … secondly, the platform will start running (pre-roll) ads in IGTV (we knew this was on it’s the way), with 55% of the revenue staying with the creator. All of this is in closed testing with a select group of deep-pocketed brands like Sephora, Puma, and Ikea. Details from Variety.

  • Facebook has been on a roll with new apps, and here’s two more. Venue is designed to be a second-screen hub for live events. It’s not a spot to actually watch events, but a spot to converse, curated and hosted by a related professional (think sports commentator or journalist. It’s a lot like Twitter Moments but in real-time. I can see media outlets and journalists taking full advantage of this.

  • Coming from Facebook’s NPE lab is Collab. The app is designed to let musicians collaborate together (but apart) on creating music. The app is iOS only for now, and invite-only, but you can put yourself on the waitlist here. Product demo video time!

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  • Remember when Twitter announced Fleets, and everyone freaked out and then moved on to the next thing? Well, Twitter is ready to start expanded testing the Stories-copycat from Brazil to Italy. While Twitter says it’s seeing fewer cases of abuse on Fleets, it’s also cautioning there’s no guarantee it’s going to be a permanent feature.

  • Facebook is updating its Slack competitor, Workplace, with Portal and Portal TV integration, and “Rooms” that can seat up to 50 video attendees. If you work for a company that already makes up it’s 5 million subscribers, like Walmart, Starbucks, or Spotify, this might make meetings a little better.

  • Facebook’s nastiness has been out of the news for a while (because things have been on fire), but this story shows that they still have a long way to go to be considered off the hook when it comes to being at the forefront of shaping online interactions in a bad way. Evidence has started to surface that Facebook knew it’s recommendation algorithms were driving division and hatred, but senior executives shut down potential fixes. Facebook looks to have prioritized any activity, good or bad, over the content and negativity it fosters. “Any press is good press”, right?

"64% of all extremist group joins are due to our recommendation tools," with most people joining at the suggestion of Facebook's "Groups You Should Join" and "Discover" algorithms.


Ryan LaFlamme has worked in social media marketing and advertising for longer than the job had a title. He formed the independent social consultancy Hub and Spoke in 2016, and can be found hanging out on Twitter @ryanlaf Now accepting new clients and speaking engagements.